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Second trial begins for Detroit police officer who shot Aiyana Jones

The re-trial of a Detroit police officer who killed a young girl during a May 2010 raid began Thursday.

No one disputes that Officer Joseph Weekley shot seven-year-old Aiyana Jones to death as police raided her home looking for a murder suspect.

In fact, much of what happened that night was captured on film by camera crews from the A&E reality TV show “The First 48.”

The question is whether Weekley is guilty of manslaughter. Prosecutors contend that he failed to exercise “ordinary care” when he fired the shot that killed Jones.

Wayne County prosecutor Bob Moran said that “no matter what happened inside the house,” Weekley should never have had his finger on the trigger.

“If he followed his training, we wouldn’t be here,” Moran told jurors during opening arguments. “If he hadn’t pulled the trigger, Aiyana would still be alive. He pulled the trigger and no one else.”

But Weekley insisted the girl’s grandmother grabbed his gun in the dark. Defense lawyer Stephen Fishman said Weekley did what he was supposed to do in that situation.

“Gun safety is important…but making sure no one gets ahold of your weapon is important as well,” Fishman said. “This is a tragic accident that resulted in the death of a little girl. That’s what this is.”

This is the second time Weekley is on trial for Jones’s death. His first trial on manslaughter charges ended in a hung jury last year.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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